This weekend I have been in the most pensive moods, especially since Christmas--a holiday typically spent with the entire family is characterized by our spending it separately in two different states and countries. Though we are sometimes the family that lacks tradition and structure in our holiday routines, it's still really hard for me to pass this year's Christmas without feeling a little bit sad and lonely.
In the last three years, my family has traveled together to some random places. Each year, we usually pick a city that we haven't been to. Most recently, it was Lake Ozark, Missouri. Lake Ozark is a beautiful place, complete with lakes, rolling hills and wonderful selection of produce; however, many people ask me, why my family always choose to go to a random place in the middle of nowhere, why not choose somewhere more exciting--like Cancun or the Bahamas? In truth, I think when my family travels together, it's not so much that we want to see the scenery or walk the historical trails, it's more about spending time with each other.
When we travel, we often take a break from our laptops, work and school. Instead, we spend more time with each other--debating about issues in the economy (yep, nerdy family), arguing about Obama's recent policies and its impact or simply hanging out. My favorite family game is a card game called Sheng Ji. It's a really fun game, though the competitive members of my family tend to take it a little bit too serious at time. The games often take hours at times since no one wants to lose!
At home, even with our living under the same roof, it's seldom that we get to spend more than one hour with each other. There is always something to do, someone to call or some exams to study for and so we often never get the chance to play together, to talk about something, watch a movie... In our busiest time, we often don't even have time to eat together. When we travel, however, we are forced to stay with each other and so we don't choose a really noisy place because we really don't want that to distract us from our family time with each other. :)
As Anthony Brandt quotes, "Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family."